How to Treat Broken Parts of Your Body While Camping

How to Treat Broken Parts of Your Body While Camping
Minor scrapes, bruises and blisters are a normal part of camping, but outdoor activity can lead to more serious injuries. A bit of bad luck or a moment's lapse of attention can lead to sprains, simple breaks or even compound fractures. If you do get injured, knowing what to do and having the right supplies handy can mean the difference between life and death. Take the time to acquaint yourself with the more common serious outdoor injuries and always take a first aid kit when you go camping.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Sprained Ankle

Things You’ll Need:
  • Bandages
  • Ice
  • Tape
  • Tent stakes
  • Sticks
  • Sterile pad
Step 1
Sit down and check your ankle for swelling or bruising and discoloration if you step wrong and feel pain in your ankle.
Step 2
Put a boot on and lace it fairly tightly if the sprain is not severely swollen, bruised or painful. If it is quite swollen, wrap it in a compression bandage. Make the bandage snug, but not tight enough to make your toes turn purple or go numb. You should be able to put two fingers under the bandage when it is firmly wrapped.
Step 3
Walk out of camp while leaning on your fellow campers to keep pressure off the ankle. If you are camping on your own, use a hiking staff. If it is extremely painful, have fellow campers carry you out of camp and immediately seek medical care.
Step 4
Use the RICE cure to treat it once you get home--rest, ice, compression and elevation. Rest the ankle by avoiding activity. Ice it with ice packs wrapped in a damp towel for 20 minutes each hour until the swelling goes down. Compress it by wrapping it in a snug compression bandage which is not tight enough to cut off blood flow. Elevate it by keeping it above your heart level. If swelling gets worse, you start running a fever or the swelling doesn't go down within three days, go to a doctor immediately.

Simple Fracture

Step 1
Recognize a simple fracture. A simple fracture is a bone break that does not pierce the skin. You may hear or feel the bone snap. The area will be swollen and possibly discolored, as well as feel tender and painful. The broken limb may swell up and become immobile. If you suspect a fracture, seek medical treatment as soon as possible.
Step 2
Splint the injured limb to immobilize it. If it is a broken finger, use a bandage or tape to splint it to an adjacent finger.
Step 3
Splint a lower-arm injury by fastening the arm to tent stakes or tree limbs to hold it stationary. Create a sling out of bandages or straps to hold it in place against the torso as you walk.
Step 4
Splint an upper-arm injury as you would a lower arm. Tape or bandage the injured arm to the chest to keep it from moving.
Step 5
Treat a leg injury by strapping the legs together if the injured person can be carried. If the injured patient has to walk out, fasten stakes or branches on either side of the damaged leg and help him hobble out of camp to keep weight off the injury site.

Compound Fracture

Step 1
Recognize a compound fracture. A compound fracture is one where the broken bone pierces the skin. You will see a fragment of bone poking through the skin.
Step 2
Place a sterile pad on the site of the break, taking care not to disturb the injury.
Step 3
Carefully splint the injured limb to stop the bone from moving and further damaging the tissue around the injury.
Step 4
Get medical help immediately. Do not move the injured person. Keep him as comfortable and warm as possible.

Tips & Warnings

Although you can treat most sprains at home, it is a good idea to get checked out by a doctor.

Article Written By Isaiah David

Isaiah David is a freelance writer and musician living in Portland, Ore. He has over five years experience as a professional writer and has been published on various online outlets. He holds a degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan.

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